In terms of my own experience, the birth if my first son was straight forward and I found myself walking on air afterwards, I expected that the birth of my second child would be the same. But it was not to be. I was induced. I was lied to in order to get me to agree. I was diagnoised with interurtrine growth retardation. The induction never felt like my pervious birth. The contractions were never intence & as a result my labour seemed to stall after his head was delivered. His cord as cut as it was tightly around his neck twice. Everyone in the room was shouting at me. Push,.push, push. I felt so useless. I will always remember one of the midwives say “I never saw a woman so able to hang on to a baby”. I immediately knew this was my fault.
I could feel the tearing. I had no contractions to help me. I was left between choosing incrediable pain & my childs life. Everyone made that clear.
When at last my son was born he was limp and blue. He was resusitated and put under a lamp. Thankfully he recovered quickly. But I did not.
I felt I had to put on a face. I already felt judged in the labour ward and found wanting. I couldn’t sleep. I felt no one was on.my side. There was little support from my family. My husband was immersed in his job & felt it was business as usual. He didn’t see the train wreck my life had become. His family seemed more concerned with how tired he was. As an only child I was also responsible for my ill mother and her family made that clear.
I was caught in an emotional perfect storm. At first I felt numb. Then I pressured myself to move on. But gradually the flash backs took over. I found it hard to sleep because of the images. I could hear that midwive over & over again “a never saw a woman so able to hang on to a baby”.
Then my sister in law became pregnant. And the anger arrived. I couldn’t be around her. I felt ill around other pregnant women. It came to a head after my sister in law gave birth & my son’s 1st birth. My relationship with my husband was in the toilet. I simply hated him. I blamed him for not protecting me, for not understanding, for shouting push with everyone else.
I was angery with my in laws, espically with my sister in law and her happy clappy birth. I was just angry full stop. There were violent out bursts. And I hadn’t really bonded with the baby. He was a difficult baby. Feeding off my ptsd, I’m sure. It was a toxic situation.
Eventually a family member, I hardly see, suggested PTSD.
I started to research. I found the birth trauma UK website. All the pieces fell into place. It all made sence for the first time. I still couldn’t find an Irish resource, it was 10 years ago, no one spoke of birth trauma. I felt unique& a failure. Four years later I attended a birth healing workshop run by AIMS Ireland. That was the first time I quoted that midwive to anyone. The words stuck in my throat and I sobbed as I had not done since my father died. I feel that was the start of my healing.
I can speak about it now. I no longer have flashbacks nor am I hypervigliant. However the smell of hospitals still present a challenge. I can deal with it now but it still stings just a little.